EXCLUSIVE: Waters Is In, Ellis Wants Out

IRVING, TX -- Exclusive news from the Cowboys' radio booth, and from the Cowboys' defensive line: Charlie Waters is in, and Greg Ellis wants out.

First, to Ellis: Stop me if you've heard this story before: Greg Ellis isn't happy.

Remember a year ago, when Ellis' feelings were hurt as the Cowboys announced a move to the 3-4 that seemed to leave him in the dust? Then, remember a 2005 Draft that brought to Valley Ranch front-liners DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears and Chris Canty, further knocking Ellis down the totem pole?

Despite the fact that the Cowboys -- from owner Jerry Jones on down -- are on record this spring as saying that the veteran Ellis remains in the team's plans, sources indicate to me that even before last weekend's selection process, he saw the writing on the wall -- and on the War Room Draft Board.

And so while a great fuss has been made of Terrell Owens skipping some voluntary off-season workouts (workouts that in some cases, I must repeat, he was excused from), a larger problem festers on the other side of the ball. Ellis, the team's first-round pick in the 1998 draft, is a locker-room leader, a respected voice. And I'm told he's been pretty scarce at Valley Ranch in recent days.

Is the former starter at defensive end skipping some off-season workouts in an attempt to earn him a fresh start with another team that needs his services?

That's a logical guess, yes.

Despite the fact that his lack of massive size makes him something less than the prototypical Bill Parcells 3-4 defensive end, the Cowboys aren't necessarily phasing Ellis out. Still, look at the changes his position has undergone in the last 12 months: Last year Dallas picked Ware and Spears in the first round, and raved (justifiably) about stealing Canty late. The club parted ways with interior line star La'Roi Glover (a signal that anyone is expendable). And now, in this draft, arrives third-round pick Jason Hatcher from Grambling, who is 6-6 and might go 300 pounds; and late-round defensive tackle Montavious Stanley, whose name certainly sounds mountainous.

Oh, and one more thing: Remember my April 21 story on trade talks between Dallas and Baltimore that featured the names Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Roy Williams and Ellis? If I heard about it, obviously Greg Ellis did, too.

It's probably not fair that Ellis might be remembered as the disgruntled defender who got schemed out of town. It's probably not fair that Ellis might be remembered as the Boy scout who Dallas took because it was scared of Randy Moss.

It might not be fair that Ellis might be remembered as yet another late-90's Dallas defensive end who didn't fully pan out, joining infamous names like Shante Carver, Ebenezer Ekuban and Kavika Pittman.

It might not be fair. But it might be inevitable.

Now, to Charlie Waters: I'm told this happened literally moments ago as I write this: Charlie Waters, the former All-Pro safety with some legendary Cowboys teams in the 70's, is the new Cowboys radio color analyst.

Waters has been doing work on the pre- and post-game shows, demonstrating the knowhow that made him a charismatic player and coach. He'll replace Babe Laufenberg -- who left for reasons that combined a desire to spend time with his family and a decision to not accept the offered pay -- and partner with the iconic Brad Sham on the KTCK 1310 AM The Ticket broadcasts.

Waters, who remains in business full-time working alongside old pal Cliff Harris (what else is new?) will begin work with the club immediately. He gets the nod over a number of compelling options, including former players Darren Woodson and Dale Hellestrae and maybe former analyst Dale Hansen.

It's likely a one-year deal, so there could be more changes in store for the Cowboys on the radio in the future (including Jerry Jones someday owning his own radio station). But for now, Cowboys broadcasts have a chance to be as high-quality as they've always been.

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